The Business of Photography

Once upon a time, I had romantic ideas of what it meant to be a professional photographer. In my mind, it was chic, sexy, and exciting. Little did I know, there’s a lot more to being a professional photographer than meets the eye. In this post, we’ll explore the 4 main hats that professional photographers must wear to be succeed in the business of photography and offer tips to make each role easier.

The Four Hats of a Professional Photographer

The Entrepreneur – This hat requires the photographer to see the bigger picture and have the drive to make their vision happen. To be an effective entrepreneur, define your goals, target market, and financial projections. Stay inspired by keeping up with industry trends and best practices. And set boundaries by saying no to projects that don’t align with your vision.

The Manager – As a manager, photographers must handle all the day-to-day tasks involved in making their vision come to life. This includes scheduling, bookkeeping, invoicing, and workflow management. To make the management role easier, use workflow management tools like Trello or Asana, and automate tasks using software like Quickbooks or Honeybook. Schedule time in your calendar for specific tasks like editing and marketing.

The Employee – In this role, photographers must get things done. They’re responsible for editing, retouching, order fulfillment, packaging, and marketing. To make the employee role easier, consider outsourcing tasks like retouching or social media management. Group similar tasks together and prioritize the most important ones that will have the biggest impact on your business.

The Visionary – This role requires photographers to wear their creative hat and stay inspired. They must bring new visions, ideas, and techniques to their work. To be a successful visionary, attend workshops, follow other photographers on social media, and network with other creatives.

Photo of 4 hats laying on floor

When you stack them all up, thats a LOT of hats for one person to wear!

Remember, mastering the business side of photography takes time and practice.

By defining your goals, staying organized, prioritizing tasks, and continuing to learn and grow, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful photography business.

According to Dane Sanders in his book Fast Track Photographer, 60% of photographers give up their business in the first year, and another 25% fail within the second year. But those who endure through the third year make up the remaining 15% who succeed. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the challenges that come with being a professional photographer.

In conclusion, the 4 hats of a successful professional photographer are the entrepreneur, manager, employee, and visionary. By wearing each hat effectively and efficiently, photographers can build a thriving business that brings them joy and success.

I hope these hats come in handy – I think they’ll look GREAT on you


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